China will open a laboratory in Hainan province in November that will focus on the use of marine resources in the South China Sea, a provincial official said.
The State Key Laboratory of Marine Resources Utilization in the South China Sea, initiated by the Hainan Science and Technology Department and Hainan University, must finish recruitment for the research team before operations officially begin, said Shi Yiyun, head of the department.
The laboratory will study how to use marine bio-resources, new materials and marine mineral resources as well as how to resourcefully use marine information, Shi told China Daily.
It will also focus on the use of marine organisms for medical purposes and ways to protect the marine ecology, he said.
With the help of the laboratory, China will make better use of marine resources in the South China Sea and cultivate more marine talent, he added.
Li Jianbao, head the laboratory and also president of Hainan University, said that the facility will be built into a key national laboratory to provide support in both technology and talent for China’s South China Sea strategy.
“There will be around 40 researchers in the laboratory, but we are going to select 24 first from relative areas within the university, and introduce talent from home and abroad later,” said Chen Yongjun, deputy director of the laboratory.
The laboratory, with a planned five-year operation, will receive 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) annually from Hainan’s provincial government for construction, daily operations, research projects and talent recruitment.
“The laboratory will be application-oriented, which fits the nation’s strategies for the Belt and Road Initiative and the South China Sea, and it surely will play an important role in using the marine resources of the South China Sea,” said Huang Bangqin, a professor of marine biology at Xiamen University’s Environment and Ecology College.
Huang said the laboratory will also have a positive effect on China’s exercising sovereignty rights in the South China Sea.
“Because only when we know better about the South China Sea can we better safeguard our nation’s rights,” he said.
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